This study compares the cost of antitumor therapy and adverse cardiovascular effects during the first year of treatment with either exogenous estrogens or orchidectomy of patients with prostatic cancer. We found that the higher costs for the orchidectomy patients were partially outweighed by the costs of treating cardiovascular complications in the estrogen-treated patients; the net overcost of orchidectomy is balanced after two and a half years by the ongoing costs of estrogen treatment. The fact that 25% of the patients treated with estrogen suffered cardiovascular complications, but no difference in mortality rates between the two groups was observed, speaks in favor of orchidectomy as the preferred treatment for prostatic carcinoma.
In a controlled study comprising 176 patients, quinidine in the form of Kinidin Durules was found to reduced significantly the recurrence of the atrial fibrillation during a 1-year follow-up period after successful electric shock conversion. After one year, 51 per cent (52/101) of the patients in the quinidine group, and 28 per cent (21/75) in the control group remained in sinus rhythm (P smaller than 0.001). No less than 43 per cent of the patients converted to sinus rhythm during treatment with maintenance doses of quinidine sulphate before intended DC conversion. Gastrointestinal side-effects were not uncommon, and caused interruption of quinidine treatment in some cases.
Heavy users of the services of emergency departments (EDs) have in previous studies been found to have psychological, social, economic and other difficulties besides their more or less acute medical problems. In order to establish whether mortality is associated with high ED use, a nine-year follow-up study was conducted of a 10 per cent population sample (n = 17,000), selected from the catchment area of Huddinge Hospital, Sweden. ED visits were found to predict nine-year mortality in the cohort. The group of individuals who had made four or more ED visits during a period of 15 months prior to follow-up (heavy ED users) had a two-fold excess mortality (95 per cent confidence interval (CI) = 1.9-2.1), those who had made one to three ED visits (moderate ED users) had a slightly elevated mortality (standardized mortality ratio SMR = 1.1, 95 per cent CI = 1.0-1.3), while the SMR of the non-users was 0.9 (95 per cent CI = 0.8-1.0). The three predominant causes of death in the cohort were diseases in the circulatory system, tumours and violent death. Heavy ED users had elevated mortality in all diagnoses, the most important excess mortality being from violent death, comprising suicide, probable suicide and alcohol/drug abuse, with an SMR of 6.3 (95 per cent CI = 6.0-6.7). The excess mortality from these causes of the heavy ED users accounted for more than one-third of their total excess mortality.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
In a trial, patients who came to a hospital Emergency Department (ED) with non-urgent complaints were advised and referred to primary health care outside the hospital. The effect of this was assessed by measuring health care utilization one year before and one year after the referral, using the Stockholm County computerized medical information system and ED medical records. The proportion of the 189 referred patients who visited the ED decreased from 48% to 42%, whereas in a control group of 107 patients the proportion increased from 41% to 51%. A small proportion, 7%, of the referred patients with four or more ED visits accounted for 45% of the total number of ED visits the year before the trial. These frequent ED users did not reduce their ED utilization more than frequent ED users in the control group. The use of health care centres increased in the referred group and was practically unchanged in the control group. However, those referred patients who continued to use the ED still quite often did so for non-urgent complaints.
Patients with non-urgent complaints and/or who attend frequently account for a substantial portion of the visits to emergency units. These patients usually require other types of care than that provided by a highly specialized emergency department (ED). In this paper we describe the development of ED utilization in the catchment area of Huddinge University Hospital, and the attempts made to improve the quality of care for high consumers of ED care. In a trial, nurse's advice and referral proved to be a feasible means of referring patients with non-urgent complaints from the hospital emergency department to more appropriate care sources, such as primary health care centres. A long-term follow-up showed that without any intervention, frequent ED users are a high-risk group as regards morbidity and mortality, especially with respect to suicide. Prevention with comprehensive and continuous treatment programmes should therefore be planned when a tendency is noted for patients to attend the ED frequently.